Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good Thing We Don't Melt

It's really, really hot.  We've hit the part of the Texas summer where it probably won't get much worse except that it just keeps on coming.  Day after day of temperatures exceeding 100.  This steals my energy like a slow leak steals the bounce from a soccer ball.  I feel like a pat of butter in a hot skillet.

Chicken Holding 101
So I'm really glad we have a reason to keep going out there morning after morning, for... FARM CAMP.

Discussing Chicken Anatomy
These kids help me overlook the swelter and refocus on the joys of living here on the farm.  We get out and about, and do the chores early, before the animals withdraw to the shade and the fans, and before we're reduced to dripping rags just standing out of doors.

Washing a Bit of Wool
We also get the opportunity to teach the kids about our favorite thing: fiber.  Wool, in particular.  When you share with a kid all the amazing tricks that wool can do, it revives your own love, and preserves the knowledge for the next generation.  Today, we washed some Gulf Coast wool and dyed it in the sun with drink powder.  By this evening, it should be finished absorbing the pigments, and I'll rinse it out and set it to dry under a fan.  Tomorrow, we'll use it for felting.... more wool tricks.

Dyeing in the Sun
I really get big satisfaction from teaching the kids how to interact with the animals.  Some have experience with big critters, but not many.  They get to touch the fur and overcome the fear.  They learn about the work and the responsibility that goes with caring for animals.

The Egg Hunt - Highlight of the Day
We also take time (in the AC) to listen to good literature about farming and fiber.  We read aloud from some really outstanding books, and the kids aren't terribly aware that it's "good for them."  They actually enjoy it.

Great Books about Fiber
Only three more days of Farm Camp for the summer.  It was a big job, but so, so worth it.  I'm considering expanding for next year.  We just have to keep sharing this great stuff.

Playdough creation...  Some kind of monster.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Toes

If the thermometer didn't scream the arrival of summer today, the toes in the Little Red Barn did.  Usually when we get together, I like to take pictures of all the pals who drop by to spin and knit and create together, but it feels like they're all starting to blur together.  So I made it my task to find something unusual about our assembly today, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.


Almost to a person, the pedicures were out and proud today.  Except for Greta, who had her very cute red Keens on, and me, who is constantly in nerdy white socks and rubber pasture shoes.  I'm jonesing for a pedicure, so this was probably creeping forward from the recesses of my mind.  Check out the cool colors:

Ms. Mairead and her blue metallics

Rita's wedding pedi is holding up remarkably well

Chiyo in green

Desiree in green sparkles

Lisa in sparkly orange

Denise goes with a classic French pedi

Virginia in floral blue...
...and our first time visitor, Sheila, who had gorgeous bottle green toes, too, but she got away without getting her toes photographed.  She's obviously heard about me and the ubiquitous camera.

I think I feel a farmer birthday pedi in my future very soon...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FC Day Two: So Much to Do

The kids came back raring to go, and we got right to work.  Of course, chores come first, but then we turned to wool work.  After meeting the sheep up close yesterday, we were ready to begin working with the wool.  We washed it and then put it in jars with Koolaid to dye it in the sun.

This is easy to do even if you aren't at Farm Camp - all you need is some wool, a big jar, some water and a few glugs of vinegar, and some unsweetened Koolaid or similar drink powder.  You can't really mess this up - add the water and vinegar, the wool, and sprinkle the powder on top and leave in the hot sun for the day.  It's magic.

Wool Washing
Ms. Nancy is the best helper ever...
Dyeing with drink powder
All set to let the sun do its thing...

Here's a little peak at all our fun activities today:

Looking at a chicken's ear -- who knew?
Our ambassador chicken doesn't mind being held
Learning about sheep, while we create great works of art
I want to thank Ms. Anela for taking all of today's wonderful pictures, and Ms. Nancy, who proved her worth and service again today in so many valuable ways.  The campers and I thank you with all our might!

And tomorrow - even more fun to come!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Camping on the Farm

Great kids make Farm Camp as much fun for me as they seem to be having.  I don't want to blow all the fun for the group that will be coming next week, but let me show you just a little of the stuff we did today.  The moms let me know we need a Farm Camp for grown-ups, and believe it or not, we're working on a couple of options in that area.  In the meantime, let the kids get some dirt under their nails, here...

See you tomorrow, kids... Day Two: wool dyeing and more...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sweet Saturday

Awesome time in the LRB today, as usual.  Coolish day, comfortable crowd of great friends, freshly mown grass, new visitors, clean barn and fun yarns.  What's not to like?

We had several drop-in visitors today, so I didn't get as many pictures as I like, but here's a couple that kind of sum up the day:

Greta brought these amazing lemon lavender cupcakes that were so good, and raised the chichi level of our gathering just by being there.  Classy snacks. 

But it was a slow paced, relaxing time together, as Smokey demonstrates.  She was absolutely content and serene on her box in the middle of the circle of friends.

Tomorrow is Father's Day - I hope you have a great man (or men) to celebrate or remember in your life.  And then on Monday, it's FARM CAMP.  I'm scurrying around, making last minute preparations for a really cool time here at the farm.  Sharing the wonder of nature - plants, animals, and fiber in particular - is a very high calling for us, and we are privileged to pass on the legacy.

I'll keep you up to date on all the fun...

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Heat is On

Has your week been as hectic as mine?  It's been a "good" hectic, if there is such a thing, but still...

We added eight new pullets to our laying flock, though it will be a couple of months before we see any eggs from these little girls.  They're getting acclimated to their new digs, and settling in nicely.

A new spinning class graduated with mad yarn-making skills.  They're on the look out for good used wheels, so if you hear of one, give me a ring.

A couple of groups of kids came to the farm to meet the animals and learn about yarn making.  This just never gets old.  And as usual, Vanni thinks it's all about him.  He walked over and sat down with this group to get his picture taken.  The boy knows the drill.

All the dyeing we've been doing is finally coming to fruition - several blends of yarn, in a dozen colors will be available in the LRB, beginning on Saturday, for your knitting-felting-weaving pleasure.  Come squeeze the Merino, mohair, alpaca and cotton!

Pal Chris spent hours with me yesterday re-organizing the LRB (that job never ends) both for this Saturday's Third Saturday Knit/Spin-In, and also for Farm Camp, which begins on Monday.  It looks like Farm Camp is going to be nearly full and quite a blast.

I'd love to see you tomorrow in the LRB if you're free.  It's tidier and roomier than it's been in a long time - come take advantage of the extra elbow room, the hot coffee, and the always delightful company.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Caption Contest Winner!

Wow, the deliberations were intense.  So many great captions... only one winner.  After numerous ballots with sweat and tears, Candi emerged as the winner with her funny caption submitted on Facebook:

Not sure how well Candi knows Boaz, but that sentiment is spot on.  Boaz loves to get in your face.  I was actually backing up when I took that photo to keep him from getting paca snot on the camera.

Candi - you get to choose from our new yarns, fresh out of the dye pots.  We have three different yarns, in several colors each.  These colors are approximate - I'm not good at making my camera get the exact right color.  Good luck picking your favorite skein  ;-)

Shalom - 100% Fine Superwash Merino yarn, 4 oz. ~190 yards:

Top: Cardinal and Third Watch
Bottom: Sprouts, Harvest, Lupine

Shepherd's Keep - 100% Organic Merino yarn, 4 oz. ~280 yards:


Jacob's Well
Wake Up! (Bright yellow)
Robin's Egg
Thicket (Spruce)

Bounty - 86% Brushed Kid Mohair, 14% Nylon, 4 oz. ~496 yards:

Prairie Rose

Mustard Seed
Deep Valley (shades of olive, brown, rust)

We'll also be offering in the LRB Store, several natural colored cotton yarns for warm weather projects.  Drop on by for a look-see soon...

I'm already looking ahead to Saturday - it's the Third Saturday Spin/Knit In at the LRB!  Hope you can be with us...  And Farm Camp begins on Monday!  Now that's going to be a big time...